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Vote on strike action over 'unfair' treatment of attacked bus driver



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Members of the Unite union are voting on whether to go on strike
Members of the Unite union are voting on whether to go on strike

DRIVERS on Yellow Buses are voting on whether to take strike action over what the Unite union claims is unfair treatment of a shop steward.

The situation arose after Martin Conder (52) was assaulted by a passenger while driving his bus last month.

Another passenger came to his aid and the attacker was removed from the bus and left on the street.

However, the union claims bosses then tried to sack Mr Conder because he did not report the incident to management using his mobile phone. He was subsequently given a final written warning, which he is appealing.

Unite says it is against company rules to for a driver to have a mobile phone turned on in the cab and that the on-board two-way radio communication system is often out of action.

Locally, Yellow buses serves passengers throughout the Christchurch area, and in April extended its 1a route into Highcliffe and New Milton.

Unite regional officer Janet Wall said: “Yellow Buses in Bournemouth has created a poisonous working environment because of their unjustified attack on Martin Conder, a well-respected shop steward with 13 years’ unblemished service.

“With the ballot result due on 21st November, a strike could happen over the Christmas period if workers vote for action. Management can end this dispute in a stroke if the company drops this ill-judged disciplinary.

“We hope management thinks again and gets back to business as usual for the residents of Bournemouth.”

Yellow Buses managing director David Squire
Yellow Buses managing director David Squire

Yellow Buses managing director David Squire said: “We are aware that there is a proposal from Unite to hold a ballot in support of a union official who was disciplined following a passenger incident.

“The appeal process has not yet been completed so we would urge Unite to engage in the processes that exist to arbitrate on such cases.

“We hope that the matter can be resolved without the need for any action.

“The prospect of strike action is both destabilising for our passengers and undermines all the positive work that has been done to improve the company’s performance.”

Mr Squire added that the police were still investigating the original assault incident.



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